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Jack, Ashmole Academy

Salt to the Sea

From the author of award winning historical fiction titles, comes another gripping, heart-breaking novel, inspired by the worst disaster in maritime history. Told from four intertwining perspectives, this is a book that is sure to delight all historical fiction fans and people who enjoyed Sepetys's first novel.

Joana, Florian, Emilia and Alfred are four young people from four different European nations ravaged by the Second World War. The book follows each character's journey toward the Wilhelm Gustloff, an overcrowded ship that seems to be their only hope of escaping the Red Army. As each character fights for their survival and their stories converge, we discover how their lives have been shaped by tragedy and betrayal and how they are all still haunted by their pasts.

This book was incredible. It was profound and flawless. I could feel absolutely every single word come off the page and straight into my heart. There is no denying that Rote Sepetys's has done an impressive and exhaustive amount of research for this book. The sinking of the Wilhelm Gustlof was something I had never heard of - and considering that I am fascinated by 20th Century history, that says a lot. It's not a story as well known as the tragic fate of the Titanic, the Lusitania, the USS Arizona... and for wanting to tell this particular story and draw attention to this forgotten ship and its civilian cargo, I deeply respect and applaud Ms. Septets.

If nothing else, Salt to the Sea impresses upon readers the enormity of the impact of this second great war on the civilians who were kicked out of their homes, who trudged kilometre after kilometre through snow and cold. It captures the sheer scale of loss for countries and states either forgotten, or absorbed, or reclaimed: Eastern Prussia, Poland, and Lithuania most especially, but also the German state civilians who were relocated and made their desperate way to the coast in Operation Hannibal to escape the Eastern Front press of the Russian Red Army.

If you liked 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', this book is just for you!

Posted on: 15th May 2017 at 05:29 pm

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